Friday, June 10, 2005

Unsanitary Ballistics

Another crappy sea story…

With all the sea stories over at “Ultraquite No More” about intentional and unintentional mishaps involving blowing sanitary tanks I thought I would add my own. This one did not happen aboard my boat but I did witness it from a relatively save distance.

I was mustering on the fantail helo deck of the Sub Tender Simon Lake in Kings Bay for a stores loading party. As in the photo below, the Simon Lake had four SSBNs moored along side. My boat was the USS Simon Bolivar and we were on the port side of the tender. On the opposite side outboard was an un-named 640 class SSBN going through refit like us.

Unsanitary Ballistics outboard AS33 Simion Lake
(Source: US Navy Photo via - Lubber's Basement)

While standing on the tender’s fantail I was watching a diver over on the un-named boat preparing to do some hydro testing. He had a bucket of green die and was standing on the turtleback a few feet from the sanitary connection. All of a sudden, the sanitary hose connection to the Sub let go with the sound of a cannon going off. Like following a tennis ball at a match the group assembled for stores loading watched a large brass coupling the size of a coffee mug take a ballistic trajectory over the tender over the pier and land somewhere in the swamp near the pier’s parking lot (under construction in the Photo). All I could say was “Holy sh*t that thing had to have gone 200ft in the air and 200 yards”.

When I looked back the hose that the coupling WAS attached to was wrapped around the tender’s service boom like a pretzel. The diver had done what divers do and dove into the drink bucket and all. So the water aft outboard the sub was a nice florescent green. There was a SH*T geyser topside and people were running around like a Chinese Fire drill. The topside watch was hunkered down behind his meager aluminum watch stand franticly trying to get the sanitary blow secured. He was successful a few seconds later.

The diver was picked up in short order by a security launch and was screaming profanities to anyone topside in earshot. Within minutes the duty officer off the tender was doing an Ensign Pulver run/walk across the inboard boat to the poop deck of the outboard offender. He threatened not to allow them to blow sanitaries to the tender or pier for the rest of their upkeep.

I don't know who that SSBN was but that was one hell of a secondary ballistic missile system they had.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Given 4 torpedo tubes on the average sub, this could have been announced as "firing tube 5" :)

I'd pay good money to see a video of that...you hear the phrase "sh*t storm", but this gives it an entirely new meaning...

:)